Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Film Review – Half Nelson (2007)

I seem to be doing a bit of a run on review at the moment. I suppose it's cos I've been a bit busy putting together a presentation for tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have some stuff on international criminal justice to post up as a result of that though.

Half Nelson is quite an interesting film. It was written at the time of the US and the UK going to war in Iraq and has tinges of the disappointment of some of those who participated in the anti-war movement prior to the invasion. This comes in particularly strongly with Dan Dunne, the main character, an idealistic teacher who tries to inspire kids in the classroom, but outside of this his life is darkened by disappointments and a drug habit.
He strikes up an unlikely friendship with one of his pupils Drey, a 13 year old girl who catches him getting high, and seeks to rescue her from the world of drugs she is getting sucked into courtesy of her imprisoned brother’s friend Frank, a local drug dealer, who she has turned to help her struggling mother’s cash problems.
The film is permeated with dialectics, indeed Dunne spends his time teaching it expressing it giving examples from history. The plot too, however is all about changes, can Dunne and Drey change – kicking drug habits etc., how can you change society – examples such as Chile 1973 and the US civil rights movement are commented on.
This is a film that isn’t too difficult to watch but touches on a lot of interesting things and is quite thought provoking, I’d recommend people watch it.

1 comment:

Charlie Marks said...

It was interesting - especially the parallels with his parents' participation in anti-vietnam war protests. What was quite refreshing was the lack of moralising over Drey's relationship with Frank (for whom her brother is doing time, hence he's helping out Drey & her mother cause the brother didn't snitch).

As a user of drugs, it is difficult for Dan to articulate opposition to drug dealing - and so, as a teacher in a public school he cannot resist the wars in the middle east being conducted by the state of which he is effectively part.

On an intellectual level, there's much to ponder as to the purpose and meaning of the film.

On a superficial level, Ryan Gosling is hot.